We’re all a little crazy

September 10, 2010

If you think about it, writing doesn’t seem like the sort of occupation any sane person would do. Let’s really deconstruct this job. Writers sit, usually in a room by themselves, and tell the stories of people who never existed (usually), doing things that never happened, in places that never were (again, usually). It is hard, it is gruelling, it is lonely, and when you finish, there is no shaft of light from the heavens. No angelic choir either.

What is there?

The red pen, that’s what.

So after you finish toiling through the edits, you send it to an agent or publisher, and then you torture yourself by waiting. Since we writers tend to be imaginative types, you picture how your precious MS is rotting in the slush pile. You see coffee stains drowning your masterful words. You see…

… The letter, or the email, and all the “advice” it contains. Now the anguish really begins. Someone is going to objectively go through your story, and point out everything wrong with it. It hurts. How could it not, when it’s the product of your heart and soul being torn asunder?

But they’re there to help you. And if you’re lucky, and good, you get published. You watch the sales like a hawk. You read the good reviews and feel yourself soaring to the moon. You read the bad ones, and suddenly, you’re lower than the slimiest sea slug. Talk about an emotional roller coaster.

So after all that turmoil, what do you do?

You do it all over again. The sacrifice of time, the work, frustration, anxiety, hurt feelings, all of it.


Because the creative act gives us a high that we crave as strongly as junkies. The urge for the next “hit” is ever-present; we can’t help ourselves. On the balances of life, the thrill of a character suddenly doing something unexpected, but completely true and real, far outweighs that jerk on Amazon saying, “OMG u suck!!!!!!!”

So if the people in your head won’t leave you alone, don’t despair. Grab a pen or keyboard. I’ll see you in print.



One comment

  1. Great blog, I’ll be back. To me it’s not just the creative act, but the undeniable feeling that I’m hardwired to do this. When I’m writing the universe seems to be right-side up. All other forms of labor, paid or otherwise, are just busywork.

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